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Feb 16, 2021

Should Founders Label Each Slides in Their Fundraising Pitch Deck? We Studied 100 Pitch Decks to Find Out

In this article, we used our 100 pitch deck database to find out if slide labels are necessary for fundraising pitch decks.

BY
Keane Angle
Louise Saludo

In the world of pitch decks, investors expect a very specific set of slides: The Problem, The Solution, The Product, Go-to-market, and over a dozen more.

But, when it comes down to actually building out those slides, should founders clearly label what each slide is?

In other words, should the slide actually say the words “THE PROBLEM” or “THE SOLUTION”?

As pitch deck consultants who build tons of pitch decks each year, we wanted a firm answer to this very specific problem.

But, it turns out, no one’s really written about this before. It turns out it’s quite specific, indeed.

So, we did some quick research on our data pool of 100 pitch decks that we’ve previously collected and analyzed.

Here’s what we did:

STORY’s Analysis of Pitch Deck Slide Labels

Before we began, we determined our criteria and came up with only three:

  1. Labels Only
  • e.g. THE PROBLEM
  1. Full Sentence Headlines Only
  • e.g. PEOPLE LOVE TACOS, BUT CAN’T ALWAYS EAT THEM.

Label and Headline Hybrid

  • e.g. THE PROBLEM: PEOPLE LOVE TACOS BUT CAN’T ALWAYS EAT THEM.


Here’s how they look like in slides:


To ensure we were looking only at decks that were successful, we filtered out unfunded pitch decks, honing our sample size from 100 to 85 decks.

Finally, we went through each slide of all 85 presentations and scored accordingly. Slides without a headline or a label were not counted.


Should founders label their pitch deck slides?

The answer: it’s a toss up for Seed rounds – but full headlines are more prevalent with Series-A and Series-B+ decks.

After the scores were tallied, we noticed an even split between Full Sentence Headlines Only (46%) and Labels Only (42%) in Seed round decks.

However, Full Sentence Headlines Only increased in prevalence in later stages, with Series-A decks at 52% and Series-B+ at 66%.


On the other hand, the use of Label and Headline Hybrid was the least prevalent, but remained consistent across all funding rounds at 10% for Seed rounds, and 14% for Series-A and above rounds.

It seems that Full Headlines are becoming more and more prevalent over time

Because the data was available, we wanted to cut it to see if there were any trends over time.

After plotting the use of each of the three categories based on when the pitch deck was created, the data lightly suggests that Full Sentence Headlines Only have gained popularity in recent year.

The data isn’t perfectly clear, but one can definitely notice the pattern if they squint a bit.

The decks in our data pool are not evenly distributed over time. Prior to 2011, we don’t have enough information to make a clear call. So, grain of salt with this observation.

So, labels or full sentences? Try the Hybrid approach.

Based on this quick research, it’s clear that there are three schools of thought when it comes to what founders put at the top of a slide.

Because founders should be creating decks to be both emailed and presented, it’s important that Full Sentence Headlines are used on both versions so that investors can easily skim through the pitch deck and get the full picture.

But, is there anything to be gained by also labeling the purpose of each slide? Yes, the downsides are minimal, and the upside is that slides now have a bit more meaning to investors and decks can be more easily navigated.

Remember: pitch decks aren’t for founders, they’re for investors. So what investors expect to see should be kept in mind at all times during the pitch deck creation process.

The chances of landing a meeting with investors are directly related to how easy founders make it for them to understand what their business is doing.

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Here's what past founders are saying:

What we loved the most about Keane's services was how intentionally he chose every word on the pitch deck. He was able to take our story, service and extensive market research distill it down into the essential elements. It became clear what we were really pitching and made it so much more compelling. Thank you for your great work!
Folake Owodunni, CEO
Emergency Response Africa
Keane and his team were fantastic. They educated us on the pitching process, helped us hone in on missing messaging pillars and push the boundaries, and they gave life to our brand styling. We wouldn't want to work with anyone else.
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Cydeo
Working with Keane and his team at STORY has been incredible. The process is so fast and dialed and we created a pitch deck that is 1000X better than what we have come up with on our own in the past. I would recommend that anyone who is raising money should use STORY to build out their deck and 1 pager. Thanks again Keane and team!
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Pillow Cube
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